The Bank Holiday Weekend in May was that rare thing, a Bank Holiday Weekend with (relatively) nice weather, and so I took advantage by visiting another of the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s wonderful reserves. My destination this time was Clouts Wood, and the associated Kings Farm Wood and Diocese Meadows. Between them, these adjoining reserves comprise a wealth of different habitats, all carefully managed. Clouts Wood has been a coppiced woodland for over 400 years, and has many ancient woodland species to show for it, including wood vetch, a pretty little plant with delicate pink flowers.
Markham Banks and the Diocese Meadows are home to grassland insects, such as the Peacock butterfly, while the Kings Farm Woods play host to the woodland species such as the Speckled Wood.
As we walked further into Clouts Wood, the pungent scent of the ransom (wild garlic to non-Wiltshire folks!) rose from the multitude of flowers, and the birds grew louder and louder as we progressed into the wood. Chief among the noise-makers were the male chaffinches, moving from perch to perch as they sang.
Aside from the butterflies, I always find that a visit to a wildlife reserve is an education in bugs and beetles, especially as the weather warms up. This trip was no exception, and it took me a fair while with my insect book, and a not inconsiderable amount of help from the entomologists (amateur and otherwise) of Twitter before I could even tentatively identify what I had seen. These are just a few of the bugs we saw that day – and if anyone wants to identify any of the unknowns for me that would be great!